“Before the truth can set you free you need to recognize which lie is holding you hostage.”
Have you ever believed something that wasn’t true? There was a time not so long ago that my sister, Kelly, believed that eating 13 (yes, 13) of my grandma’s snickerdoodles would be a great idea. I mean I get it, my grandparents owned a bakery for many years. There’s nothing like her cookies. But after noticing cookie after cookie going down the hatch, those of us witnessing the event started to speak up. Our opinions, however, weren’t ones she wanted to hear as she continued down her sugar spiral. We all told her what we knew would happen and deep down she did too. But in that moment she was enjoying herself too much to care.
We live in a culture that perpetually tries to convince us that truth is relative. What’s true for me might not be true for you, and visa versa. Now more than ever we’re embracing, adapting, accepting. What was once black and white is not so distinct anymore. Like Eve, we hear the enemy ask, “Did God really say…?” Only, what we hear doesn’t sound like an enemy. All too often the voice sounds a lot like a friend beckoning us to “embrace your true identity,” “find yourself,” “find freedom.”
Matthew 7:13,14 says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Can I be honest a moment? I totally understand why “only a few find it” or rather that only a few stay on it. Walking the narrow road is hard. It’s unpopular. When one friend after another gives into what seems like much more fun over on the other road, it can be lonely. And we start to question if what we thought was true. Because the majority is usually right, right? Adolf Hitler made a sobering statement, “The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it.”
See, we think truth should feel good. But that’s not always the case. It’s the lies that often feel good, that feel right. That’s our fallen nature. Because at the heart of every sin is a lie we have bought into believing. Believing lies can be fun. Sin is fun. Why else would we do it? We don’t believe lies because we want to be deceived. We believe them because of how they make us feel. What we forget is that is that the good feelings are always only temporary.
Of course, sometimes we believe lies out of ignorance. When it becomes dangerous is when we know the truth yet choose to follow what we feel over what we know. 2 Peter 2:20 says, “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” Worse off? I’m tempted to think, “God, that doesn’t sound very nice!” But did you know that as Christians, God never punishes us? Jesus already took our punishment. However, we will be disciplined and receive the consequences of our actions. Kelly knew she shouldn’t have eaten 13 cookies but did anyway, and felt the effects. That wasn’t God out to ruin her fun. It was her body reminding her of what would probably be a better choice for next time. (Although there has yet to be a next time as she hasn’t eaten a snickerdoodle since.)
My example was lighthearted, but in all seriousness, it’s a hard truth to grasp. But truth is what needs to be grasped, what needs to be upheld, what needs to be spoken, even if it’s unpopular or offensive (and it will be) to others or even to ourselves. I’ve had to acknowledge quite a few lies I believed this past year. And you know what? It hurt. It hurt to accept the truth, to let myself feel it in all its fullness. No longer being bound in disillusion can be painful. But the temporary hurt is nothing compared to ultimately walking in freedom. Because true freedom is living in the truth.
It seems logical to think that living according to a set of rules isn’t freedom, but bondage. Yet what would happen if one day everyone decided they would drive however they felt like (not like they don’t already ha!). Stop signs, traffic lights, brake lights were all observed in relation to however that person felt in that moment. One could say, “This red light is keeping me from driving freely where I want to go!” Except in reality that red light is keeping you and others from crashing into each other and potentially getting severely injured or killed. God loves you. Don’t buy the lie that in giving you guidelines that He’s withholding something good from you. We must strive to remember that we are not free from obedience to God’s word, but rather that in keeping His word we find safety, we find joy, we find freedom.
It’s not easy. It’s a fight. But it’s a fight worth fighting. The narrow road is a path worth taking. One of my favorite songs right now is Worth It All by Meredith Andrews. I love the words, “No matter what the cost I will follow you. Jesus, everything I have lost I have found in you. When I finally reach the end I’ll say, ‘You are worth it all.’” He is worth it all because He is truth. And living in the truth is truly living free.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” -Isaiah 30:21
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:31,32
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” -John 8:36